Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Opeth - Blackwater Park CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.25 | 1566 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Oh how I curse PA's lack of half star ratings! Blackwater Park is certainly a better album than Still Life which I gave four stars, but I do have some quibbles about it so I hesitate to offer five. Know that this is really a 4.5 album in my heart.

This is where Opeth reach maturity. They perfected their metal sound on My Arms Your Hearse and made strides in their progressive sound on Still Life. Here is the first record to demonstrate mastery of both.

First of all, Akerfeldt's voice has completed its long and twisty journey to the point where he is more or less a master of all trades vocally. He can sing almost any way you please with great success and the roar that you meet on The Leper Affinity, so deep and scary you feel it MUST have been assisted by computers (although it hasn't) now stands alongside the painfully fragile and pretty voice he uses to open Dirge For November.

The production, assisted by Steve Wilson, is immaculate. They already had fantastic sound quality but it is even better here. Full use of the studio is made to stitch every potentially jarring sound together into seamless, smooth wholes. The guitars particularly sound great and atmospheric atonal buzzy electric noises turn up subtlely in the background to enrichen the atmosphere.

The problem for me with Blackwater Park is that it is frontloaded. The first four tracks, half the album, are perfect. The crushing The Leper Affinity, Bleak which shows rare (for Opeth) strains of pop (though watch out for that brutal finale), the absolutely beautiful, intoxicating Harvest and the mature, symphony rich, dizzying The Drapery Falls show all the range and skill you could ask for. Had this level of quality been maintained, BP would not just be a five star album but one of the greatest of all time.

However, while Dirge For November and The Funeral Portrait are certainly good songs (love that creepy choiral voice used at the end of The Funeral Portait) they are not as compelling and addictive as what came before, largely because they are made up of elements already glimpsed on earlier songs. And the big epic Blackwater Park fails to grip me, coming off as too straightforward and not in the same league as other Opeth monsters like Black Rose Immortal and Hessian Peel.

Make no mistake about it though, even with the weaker second half, BP is a hugely successful and enjoyable album and the sound of a band moving on from being one of their best in their genre to being one of the best, period. Highly recommended.

Textbook | 4/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this OPETH review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives